Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling says diversity remarks misinterpreted
The British actress backpedals on French interview, now saying diversity is important
Academy Award-nominated actress Charlotte Rampling says her comments that the #OscarsSoWhite campaign is "racist to white people" were misinterpreted.
In a statement to CBS News' Sunday Morning on Friday, Rampling tried to clarify what she had said to a French radio station earlier that day.
"I simply meant to say that in an ideal world every performance will be given equal opportunities for consideration. I am very honoured to be included in this year's wonderful group of nominated actors and actresses."
For the second year in a row, every Academy Award acting nominee is white, prompting people to call for a boycott of the ceremony in protest.
Speaking in French, Rampling, 69, had previously told France's Europe 1 radio Friday that while it's impossible to know for sure, "maybe the black actors didn't deserve to be in the final stretch."
Asked about one potential solution that has not been suggested by most boycott supporters — a quota to ensure diversity among nominees — Rampling responded: "Why classify people?"
She went on to say: "These days everyone is more or less accepted. People will always say 'Him, he's less handsome. Him, he's too black. He is too white.' Someone will always be saying 'You are too …' But do we have to take from this that there should be lots of minorities everywhere?"
In her follow-up statement to CBS, she said: "Diversity in our industry is an important issue that needs to be addressed."
When the Oscar nominations were announced Jan. 14, the lack of minorities on the list sparked a social media campaign with the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite and has provoked high-profile people in the business, including Jada Pinkett-Smith, her husband Will Smith and filmmaker Spike Lee to say they won't attend the upcoming show.
It also prompted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to announce changes to the organization this week with the goal of doubling female and diverse membership by the year 2020. The changes won't affect this year's Oscars.
Rampling, who is revered in France and has starred in both French and English films, is nominated for best actress at this year's Oscars for her role in 45 Years, a movie that depicts a couple whose long marriage begins to shatter after a life-changing event.
Ironically, Rampling has been known for shunning Hollywood most of her career, living in France and often waiting for roles to come to her rather than the other way around, according to her interview with CBS Sunday Morning airing this weekend.
After her initial radio interview, many people slammed her comments on social media, including Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former U.S. President Bill Clinton and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.
Outrageous, ignorant & offensive comments from Rampling. <a href="https://t.co/h7r1HNND5E">https://t.co/h7r1HNND5E</a>—@ChelseaClinton
MISSING: a set of marbles. If found, please return to Charlotte Rampling. <a href="https://t.co/71O6fd8gxl">https://t.co/71O6fd8gxl</a>—@piersmorgan
British actor Michael Caine was also asked about the diversity controversy this week by the BBC and urged black actors to "be patient," saying recognition would come. He praised Idris Elba's "wonderful" work in Beasts of No Nation, which did not receive an Oscar nod.
"Of course it will come," he said. "It took me years to get an Oscar, years."
With files from The Associated Press